Thursday, April 28, 2011

Project 365 - Lost

I got lost today.  I was out looking for the new barns that my brother had told me were being constructed somewhere near Rising's Corner.  I took the wrong road.

I don't know how long it has been since I pointed my car toward Rising's Corner.  I used to ride along with my Mom to the orchard that was there when I was young. Every fall we would go to buy Macintosh apples for applesauce.  We would go into the cold storage, where the crisp, sweet, smell of fresh apples greeted us.  Fall in Connecticut.

But, today I have taken the wrong road, overshooting Rising's Corner and crossing out of fall memories and into spring in Massachusetts.  I thought I should turn around, but I resisted the easy route home and continued on.  Over the mountain, following the unfamiliar.

I came around a bend, passed an out of season Christmas tree farm and there it was.  The place I meant to go all along, never lost.

Project 365 - Green and Brown

Here's the thing.  I don't know what this is.  But, isn't it cool?

So my question is...  Do we really need to know what something is to appreciate it?  I hope not.  A little mystery please....

Project 365 - Ephemeral

There are fleeting moments of great beauty that come in spring.  Moments of blue and green and pink.  They rise from the brown and gray, reaching for warmer, longer days.

And as these moments come, so they go. Ephemeral, fleeting. Quietly, they wither and return to warmer ground.  And there they sleep.  A breath of life.  A whisper laid fresh for another time.

Project 365 - A Cottage in the Woods

Out behind our house stands a little cottage.  While you can not tell from this photograph, it is painted purple with white trim and a lime green front door.

Maddie and I stood on ladders one spring day a couple of years ago and changed it's color from serious gray to it's more fanciful color palette.  We swept it out and then laid a new grass green indoor/outdoor carpet.  We washed it's windows and laid a cheerful welcome mat on it's tiny front step.

If you look closely, you can see that Maddie has parked a small garden cart outside of her cottage in the woods.  It must have been garden day.  Sometimes it is her bike, or a wagon that is the preferred mode of transportation.

And if you close your eyes and listen very closely, you can hear Maddie singing.  Her tune floating out of an open window and up, up into this warm spring day.  Coaxing the tree buds into leaves.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Project 365 - Fairy Bouquet

Be careful where you step, the forest floor is alive.

Fairy bouquets, star shaped bits of pure light dotted with magic, peek from under leaf and rock.

Leafy fingers stretch and reach from black moist spring earth.

Who waved their magic wand?  Who blew their fairy dust in my path?

Be careful where you step....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Project 365 - Leaf on Leaf

Every now and then nature hands you an unexpected gift.  A little calling card.

These leaves may simply be happenstance.  A quick reminder of seasons past intermingled with the crisp newness of spring and new life.

Or maybe they are a reminder of the beauty found in the lines and color of age when set against the simple vibrant smoothness of youth.

Together, in contrast, leaf to leaf a beauty all it's own.

Project 365 - The Old Bridge

I am a sucker for all things forgotten.  Off the beaten track, out of the way, things that meant something or lead somewhere once.  This bridge crosses a creek in the woods.  The road that once connected this bridge to place, is now overgrown with trees.  The May Apples are standing like tiny umbrellas among the jungle of fiddleheads and lush flush of skunk cabbage.

The moss and lichen have claimed the structure for their own, adding new color and textures that no civil engineer could have planned.  There are cement barriers on either side of the bridge.  As with everything here, I am sure they had meaning at one time. Perhaps reminding forgetful travelers that this was no longer the way home.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Project 365 - Blue and Gold

There are secrets in the garden.
Small and vibrant tiny blue bells
Ring in fairy songs
In tune with golden treasures.

New life moves
Rustles in the leaves
left behind
Bursting forward
Telling all.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Project 365 - Fiddle-de-de

Tucked up tight and huddled together,
New spring life awaits its turn to stretch and yawn,
Reaching forward into the days of summer.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Project 365 - Thankful

Today is the 100th day of my 365 photo blog project.  Off and on all day, I have wrestled with how to mark this milestone. What to shoot....what to write.  In the end, I am cheating a bit.

Last fall, my sister came for a week-end visit and on a whim we decided to visit the Pennsylvania Colonial Plantation located down the street from my house in Ridley Creek State Park.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  We took Maddie with us.  The three of us spent our time walking through the past.  We visited with weavers and blacksmiths, furniture makers and farmers, all dressed in period costume and full of colonial information.  We wandered around the barnyard marveling at the sizable pigs lounging in the mud and took our turn at feeding the chickens.

Finally, we made our way up to the farmhouse.  A fire was burning in the parlor hearth taking the chill out of our pink cheeks.  And there seated at the large farmhouse table in the center of the room sat a beautiful little colonial child.  She glanced up as we entered, and seeing Maddie, she immediately issued an invitation to join her as she colored her pictures of cows and horses.  I asked her if it was ok for me to take her picture.  She stopped her work for a moment,  and gave me the briefest of grins.  I asked her name.  "Thankful, " she replied.

And so as I close the first 100 days of the most challenging and fullfilling work I have ever undertaken, I can not think of a better image and sentiment to share.  Thankful.  Yes, indeed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Project 365 -The May Apple

I spent a good deal of time today crawling around on my belly today.  There are so many plants beginning to emerge.  Pushing their way up through the leaf liter I have been too lazy to rake up out of the garden.  Leaves and flower buds are unfolding, stretching, nodding to the rain that fell today.

The May Apples open like so many umbrellas, popping up and unfurling it's single sheltering leaf.  Later in the month, it will bloom, a single white flower, will  linger there for a bit, like a southern belle under her parisol on a lovely spring day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Project 365 - The Open Gate

The open gate beckoned to me.  The path is not worn. Who has been here before me? Did they mean to leave the gate open?  Perhaps an invitation or did they just forget to secure the latch?

Project 365 - The Bull Frogs

The bull frogs are awake.  I had lunch with several of them today.  They sat at ponds edge enjoying the sun and the warmer than usual spring temperatures.  They watched me eat my roasted beet salad.  They heard me chatting with friends.  They saw my cheeks turn pink in the same sun that warmed their big green bodies.  They never waivered.  Who knew I was that interesting?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Project 365 - Cherry Blossoms

It is no wonder that we celebrate the cherry blossom.  They burst on the scene just when we need them most.  Like tiny pink butterflies clinging together by the thousands, on criss cross branches, they flutter in the spring breeze.  They do not last long.  A week from now, they will let go of their perch and fall like so much pink snow.  But for now, we celebrate.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Project 365 - The Muse Moves Out

The muse has stepped outside.  Left the building.  She has settled herself up on a rock outcropping in the front circle garden.  Nestled in moss and terra cotte.  If you strike her, her tone vibrates through the rock.  You can feel her cool sound with your hand.  Out in the world she looks small, making her sound huge.  The birds talk back and scatter in confusion.

Project 365 - Magnolias in the Wind

Today was a bit on the windy side.  A front is coming through and rain is expected later tonight. I seize my moment to shoot a bit before 7pm.  Gentle light seems to be bouncing everywhere, washing my magnolia with a blush of pink.  The wind took them.  Large mops of petals shift and sway agains a tangle of bare branches.  Movement, a swish of spring.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Project 365 - Tucked Away

I have been gardening this plot of land for over 10 years now.  The peace I find here can not be defined.

I know every inch of ground.  I can show you where the groundhog lives, where the deer travel up and down the bank on their way to the creek.

I have allowed volunteers to sprout between the heavy Avondale bluestone that I pieced together into a rustic patio out under the 80 year old cedar trees, just behind the 100 year old boxwood.  Baby hosta, brunnera, and heuchera peek their tiny green heads up out of the soil that has been fertilized with cedar needles.

There is a carpet of moss that covers the rocky soil out behind the garage.  This time of year the entire expanse flushes emerald.  It covers rock and root.  If you take your shoes off the softness gives way to cool, moist spring soil.  The last of winter held under that green.

Out by the drive, just off the back deck stands an ancient lilac.  It is in pretty rough shape.  Every year as I do my early rounds, I wonder if it will make another full season.  Part of it is hollow and broken.  I have had to prune back sizable branches in an attempt to secure another year intact.  But this lilac is full of surprises. It has already begun to send it's little green leaves out to greet me, and tucked away in her hollow a piece of whimsy lives. A welcome, gentle grin that even I did not expect.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Project 365 - Spring Bloom

I went into the woods today with Maddie, my dog, and my camera.  Maddie took me down to the creek.  She was in search of tadpoles and minnows.  I was in search of my next shot.  The dog was just in search, following her nose.

We ambled our way along the creek bed for a while, marveling at the changes of season that had occurred since our last visit.  The skunk cabbage are reaching skyward now, puncturing stubborn, thick oak and maple leaves that had blocked the journey toward the sun.  The emerald moss punctuates the brown and gray of fallen trees and rock set free from the winter earth.

Maddie showed me where and how to cross the creek.  She hops from stone to stone with ease.  I keep my feet dry somehow.  I wandered away for a while and when I returned I found Maddie barefoot in midstream, hot on the trail of a crayfish that had darted out from the rocks along the bank.  The dog had gone to greet a neighbors Jack Russell that had decided to investigate our presence.

All along I have planted my tripod.  Here to examine and record the swirling line and rough texture of a log.  There, to shoot the burgundy margin of an emergent leaf.  All worthy subjects.

We fanned out on our way back up the bank toward the house. Maddie went off to explore the old ruin that is nestled in the gully. The dog ran up and down the bank four times before I even made it to the incline.  I wandered into a patch of briar requiring me to slow down and place my steps carefully.  I stopped, looked down.  I was surrounded by milky white stars floating above speckled leaves and red stems.  Heaven come earth on the first brilliant, warm spring day.

Project 365 - Lemon Yellow

I am not sure why I played with this lemon.  It was there on the counter and I thought, hmmm, let's see.  It gave up it's seeds for me and my lens.  The ultimate sacrifice.  But it was really it's lemony color that I needed.  It's reminder of warmer days.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Project 365 - Beatlemania

I grew up listening to the Beatles.  The cliche about their music being the score for my youth happens to ring true for me.  From gangly little girl to an almost sort of adult, it seems, that The Beatles were there.

The most amazing thing about this music is, that to this day, it still surprises me.  I am amazed at the poetry, the complexity of the harmonies, the sophistication of the arrangements, the experimentation and utilization of instruments.  But mostly, I am surprised and amazed at how many Beatles songs I actually know the words to.

Tonight I went to a show at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.  A local band performed two Beatles albums, Rubber Soul and Revolver, all the way through, with a little Abbey Road and a bit of the White Album thrown in for good measure.

At one point, my daughter, Maddie, turned to me and said, "Wow, Mom, you know every word to every song!  Do you know ALL the Beatles songs?"  I just smiled ear to ear and said, "Yes, Maddie.  I believe I do."  She smiled back and we danced and sang on.

See?  Amazing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Project 365 - April Fool

A week or so ago, I began to spruce up the garden a bit.  The winter, as always, had taken it's toll, knocking chairs end over top in the freezing winds we had this year. I righted my garden fairies that had given way to the weight of the snow and ice.  And on a wonderful 60 degree, sunny, spring day I brought out some cushions. Vibrant color to tide me over until the flowers in the garden take on their rightful role.

And then, today, nature put me in my place.  Just another April Fool.

Project 365 - Still Small

This is Jizo.  He is a tiny little fellow that sits on a table in my front hall.  In Buddhism, Jizo is the embodiment of the Bodhisattva Vow, the aspiration to save all beings from suffering.  He is also said to be the protector of life's travellers through the Six Realms of Existence, guiding them through both the spiritual and physical.

I love that he is most often depicted as a child.  The idea of innocence and serenity taking the weary through all states of existence from Hell to Nirvana.  Waiting with tiny hands for each rebirth.